NWT campground booking dates and opening dates for 2023

Campgrounds operated by NWT Parks will begin accepting online reservations for 2023 in the first week of April. The parks themselves open from May 15.

Online reservations open at 10am on April 4 for Prelude Lake, 10am on April 5 for Reid Lake, 10am on April 6 for Fred Henne and 10am on April 7 for all other park campgrounds.

Reservations are made through the NWT Parks website, which also has a list of opening and closing dates for the territory’s parks this summer.


The majority of parks open on May 15 and close on September 15.

There have been some calls to extend the season, as happened during 2020’s pandemic first wave in a bid to provide more staycation opportunities.

In general, tourism minister Caroline Wawzonek has said a similar exercise in future would be better handled by the private sector getting involved and offering some form of winter camping.

“The cost to the department when we ran just two extra weeks, back in 2020, was well over $200,000,” Wawzonek told the legislature last month. She said the end result had been “very low uptake, very high costs.”

However, asked by Thebacha MLA Frieda Martselos if Fort Smith’s Queen Elizabeth Territorial Park might remain open until the end of September – a two-week extension – Wawzonek hinted that might be doable.


“The challenge is ensuring that the contractors who run the parks are available, firstly, and that they are prepared to undertake whatever the asks are. And there then has to be sufficient occupancy and incoming revenue to make some business case for it, and it probably will not fully offset the costs to the department to keep the parks open,” Wawzonek said.

“But if it could at least come close, then we could get to a place of being able to propose or request the budget.

“Perhaps what we will do is look at what the rate of occupancy is, with a view to determining if there’s an opportunity to keep it open further based on the occupancy and the costs of doing so.”

In a separate statement, Wawzonek said seven of the NWT’s parks set some form of visitor record last summer.


Looking ahead to this summer, the minister said a new deck and performance area with tiered seating is being built at Inuvik’s Gwich’in Park, while Happy Valley Park will have larger shower and washroom facilities.

Fort Providence’s campground is getting a new “adventure-themed playground,” Sambaa Deh’s shower building is being upgraded, and Hay River Territorial Park will have a new change room and concession.

Shower buildings and laundry facilities are being added at the 60th Parallel and Little Buffalo River Crossing campgrounds, while the visitor information centre at Blackstone is being renovated.